Tag Archives: appalachia

The origins of Old Harp singing, part 1 of 2

Liner notes for 1951 Folkways record ‘Old Harp Singing,’ featuring the Old Harp Singers of Eastern Tennessee, by Sidney Robertson Cowell— ‘Singers in the Harp’ number many thousands of people through the South and West who sing religious folksongs and fuguing tunes.  They are accustomed to meet on one or two Sunday afternoons a month, […]

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In these hills they feel the heartbeat of God

“Stories of the feud-ridden, ignorance-shrouded people of the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia have been published far and near and throughout the land the common belief is that every cove harbors a moonshine still, and every home has its feuds. We are taught that the gruff mountaineer has a stern, cold heart; that he […]

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He wanted people who ate at his house to have what they wanted

“The home of Nathan Noble was known far and wide for the ample room, good living, welcome cheer and forest hospitality. The entertainment was noble, majestic and grand in its services and welcome in its invitation. A stranger never left the cabin door of these mountaineers hungry, unless it was destitute of food or the […]

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The Waldensians in North Carolina

The largest Waldensian colony in the world outside of Italy–Valdese, NC–was officially incorporated as a town on February 17, 1920. The Waldenses, or Waldensians, are a Christian sect founded in the 12th century by Peter Valdo (hence Valdese = Waldensian), a merchant of Lyons, France who lived only a short time before St. Francis. For […]

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The madstone would stick to the wound and draw the poison out

Right up till the early years of the 20th century, a bite from a rabid animal could strike terror in the hearts of Appalachian residents. Rabies slowly destroys the nervous system. It finally attacks the spinal cord and its victim may froth at the mouth, scream and fight. Before Louis Pasteur developed a successful vaccination […]

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